A genetic variation in people with East Asian descent could be the reason why some patients fail to respond to popular cancer drugs.
Researchers led by S Tiong Ong of the Cancer and Stem Cell Biology at Duke University Medical Center found that patients with genetic variation in the EGFR gene fail to respond to popular cancer drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) drugs which are used to treat certain blood cell cancers such as chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).
The researchers said that their findings will come as good news for those with the genetic variation as they can get a more specialized treatment by including class of drugs called BH3-mimetics to their existing TKI treatment.
"When the BH3 drugs were added to the TKI therapy in experiments conducted on cancer cells with the BIM gene variant, we were able to overcome the resistance conferred by the gene. Our next step will be to bring this to clinical trials with patients", Tiong Ong said.